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Comments

  1. I enjoy all the recipes I feel like my mom and grandma are in the kitchen cooking. I CAN SMELL IT ALL NOW.

  2. Dear Frank,
    I absolutely love your website-very informative, thorough and helpful.
    Kindly, help me with one issue:
    – What a fresh, unfiltered, minimally processed extra virgin olive oil should smell, look like and taste?
    -Should it always have green color? What about yellow color? Does olive (regional/ country)variety give different oils colors and tastes?
    I have recently bought a locally produced (San luis Obispo county, CA) olive oil from “Homestead Olive Ranch”, Leccino blend, first press, and I have not tried it yet, but I have tried one that was late harvest at the Farmer’s Market, unfiltered, extra virgin-when I sampled it, it left a burning feeling on my tongue, very strong taste. How should such oil be used best? The one I have bought should be milder in taste, so how should I use this one?
    -Is “first press” the best to buy? What means “cold pressed?”
    – What kind of olive oils are best for sauté?
    – How should the oils be best stored, after opening? In the fridge? I know oils go rancid fast if exposed to air and light.
    Most of the oils I have tried, local in California or imported likeTurkish, Greek, Spanish or a Mediterranean blend from Costco, smelled stale-a little like fishy, turpentine smell.
    PS. I appreciate your recipe for a simple Italian salad dressing-oil, vinegar and salt.
    I am not Italian, but grew up with Algerian and French cuisine, and Polish recipes.
    I like Italian cooking because of its variety, health wisdom and incredible plethora of taste and homeliness. Thank you for a beautiful website.
    Agnieszka

    1. Author

      Thanks for your readership, Agniesksa! Your multifaceted question reminds me that I have been meaning to do a post on olive oils for some time now. I don’t put myself out there as an expert by any means. Like wines, there are so many olive oils out there that true expertise takes a lot of hard work. But to answer just a few of your key questions:

      The color of olive oil will tell you about the character of the oil—green ones are “fruitier” and more intensely flavored, while more yellow oils are milder and more subtle. Provençal and Ligurian oils tend towards the yellow, while southern Italian (and Greek and Spanish) olive oils tend to be dark green. Tuscan olive oils are somewhere in between. That doesn’t mean one is better than the other.

      Unfiltered olive oil will be a bit cloudy, as it contains tiny particles of olive, which would have been eliminated by filtering. I actually like unfiltered olive oil. I think it has deeper, more “olive-y” flavor, especially nice when used raw to dress salads or as a topping for soups.

      You get olive oil from pressing (grinding) olives to extrude their natural oils. “First press”, as the name implies, refers to the oil resulting from the first time they do this, and it has the best flavor. “Cold press” means, again, as the name implies, that no heat is applied to try to extract more oil. That’s considered a good thing since heat will alter the taste of the oil.

      Typically, I buy a fairly inexpensive olive oil to cook with: as a base for making sauces and stews, for sautés and for shallow frying. And I have a more expensive oil for using raw. I do almost all my Italian cooking in olive oil, but use peanut oil (or lard) for deep frying.

      At the end of the day, like wine, you will find you like certain olive oils better than others. Personally, I tend to prefer dark green, fruit olive oils, just like some people like cabernet sauvignon while others prefer a pinot noir. But if your olive oil tastes or smell off, it has either gone bad or it may well just be a bad oil. Unfortunately, there is a lot of fakery in the world of olive oils, with inferior oils being passed off as “extra virgin”.

      This is just scratching the surface, but hope this helps. And look out for an upcoming post on olive oils.

      Happy cooking
      Frank

  3. Everyone loves torte do melee when I bake ,thank you for a fantastic recipe

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